The Midland Saga 2/6/10
Posted 06 February 2010 - 01:18 PM
Well, the "Fun" thread was just that, fun. (Congratulations again to Michael for deducing the correct railroad and location!)
Some of you that have only recently frequented my VSC forum may wonder "WHERE did this CM thing come from?". (Or you may not even care! )
Of course, those of you that "know" me here, well, you know how I am: I see this as an excellent opportunity to spew out pages of drivel and be enthralled with the sight of my own typed words on yet another internet forum!
So, fulfilling the Latin term "Carpe Diem" I shall endeavor to seize the day, and enlighten the great unwashed throngs as to how this "CM thing" came to be. In addition, I intend to throw out some progress shots of where this project is at this point, and what I hope to accomplish with it. Actually, even if you're only remotely interested in the possibility of running some trains up and over Ute Pass, you may find some interesting things in this gigantic (I figure) thread. Oh, and expect several of diagrams and pics.
The CM and MSTS:
First, understand that the CM was THE railroad that introduced me to the fascination of Colorado railroading. This was back in 1990 or so. Mel McFarland's excellent book about the Colorado Midland was my first purchase that comprehensively dealt with the CM. I was hooked. From this beginning eventually grew my appreciation for the narrow gauge lines of Colorado as well. So, as you can see, my interest in the CM is pivotal to my entire interest in Colorado railroads. In addition, it cemented my budding interest in "TOC19" railroading, that is, "Turn of the 19th Century" railroading.
It was through the advent of this amazingly durable MSTS program that it dawned on me I could perhaps build this sucker, and live it in virtual. So it was that several years ago (soon after my release of the North Arkansas route?) I attempted building the CM from Colorado City to points West. I failed big time on account of:
1. The CM is a complicated route and it was exceeding my route building skills at the time.
2. I was limited to the default track system and the CM used some very radical trackwork. I could not even come close to adequately portraying some track arrangements. (At that time it was generally felt the XTracks creator was aversive to allowing XTracks to be used in a commerical endeavor. This has since proved to not be the case, as the XTracks creator addressed it and made provision for commercial use. Scale Rail didn't exist then.)
3. My route data was not very comprehensive and I felt the operational potential (i.e. "Activities" and things to do.) of the proposed segment was too limited. This was very important to me at the time, for it was my perception at that time that a commercial route needed good "play value" for the customer. Understand that during that time, my involvement with MSTS was more from the commercial vantage point than the hobbiest side. (Which eventually almost ruined MSTS for me.)
Anyway, the above contributed to my cancelling (giving up on) the CM project, and Jon Davis' beautiful work on the CM equipment ended up being released as an Equipment Pack. I retreated to proto-lanced routes that I felt had good "play value" and the added factor of being able to free-flow (which was important in order to avoid constraints that could hinder a commercial endeavor), and the A&O Sub and Ozark Northern (basically my stand-in for the CM) were developed and eventually released. In my humble opinion, both of those route efforts came through in spades in regards to "play value". However, neither was an attempt at replicating specific prototype(s) as accurately as is reasonable, given the venue I work with.
Since my retreat from primarily commercial efforts to that of again being an MSTS hobbiest first, I have come to realize that I find much more personal reward trying to bring back abandoned (or radically evolved) prototypes more than freelancing, or even protolancing. Further, try as I might... I just find that TOC19 is more interesting to me than today's scene... so invariably my projects have been aimed at TOC19.
Alright... I hear you now... "Look... we didn't want a LIFE BLOG... so... WHY THE CM already????"
Good enough. I will close this and post it, and start "Part 2: The Life And Times Of A Dysfunctional MSTS'er" shortly!!!
Posted 06 February 2010 - 02:45 PM
Great to hear another TOC route to come :-) Means some new work for OVS people to run some activities. As you were speaking about a book I want to ask you if you can promote some literature about the CM.
I am accustomed to buy literature about almost every MSTS-line I am intersted in :-)
Especially for the Maine 2footers I spent many many dollars 8-)
Please don`t let my wife know ;-)
Posted 06 February 2010 - 03:52 PM
Bless your heart. You are always one to step in and be an encouragment! Thank you!
As for books about the Colorado Midland. Well... I don't know of any that are in print. That means you will need to find them at second hand sources: Amazon.com, eBay, etc. Prices will vary from "not bad"... to "they've GOT to be kidding!".
The CM books I would recommend are (Author/Title/Publisher) and in this order, would be:
* E.M. McFarland; "The Midland Route: Colorado Midland Guide and Data Book"; Colorado Railroad Museum.
* Dan Abbott; "Colorado Midland Railway: Through The Divide"; Sundance Books.
* Morris Cafky; "Colorado Midland"; Rocky Mountain Railroad Club.
The Cafky book has been out of print since about 1965. Expect to pay well over $100 US dollars for it.
IF you only want one book that will give you an excellent overall view of the CM's locale, equipment, and such, then in my opinion, I think the McFarland book would be your best choice.
Good hunting and good luck!
Posted 06 February 2010 - 04:10 PM
So... for the past many months as mood and energy moved me, I worked on projects that appealed to my primary railroading interests:
* A narrow gauge route. (The Colorado Central and dabbled with the Telluride Branch of the RGS.)
* A TOC19 project: The Coal Belt.
* A diesel project: The C&O at Thurmond, circa 1960's. (Not much at all has been accomplished on this.)
About a month ago I decided to send alpha copies of my recent steam projects to two close friends for their input:
* The Coal Belt
* The Colorado Central
* The Telluride Branch of the RGS.
On a whim... I sorted through my numerous failed routes and burned a copy of the old CM onto the same CD. Out they went.
Their input has been very helpful and motivational, and bascally confirmed what I was feeling. In a nutshell, this was the consensus:
Pros: Fantastic operational potential. Very good, though challengingly difficult, first segment capable of being developed/released and thus enjoyed by others.
Cons: Mild terrain traversed. Very complicated and vast scope. Very little equipment that could be used. First segment would be extremely structure/object heavy. Concerns I had already overbuilt the route. VERY little equipment for use. (A minimum of three railroads would need to be represented, basically all requiring new locomotive models.)
Pros: Good operating potential ONCE enough route was completed (about 28 miles to Black Hawk). Excellent terrain traversed. (Rugged, hence interesting.)
Cons: The DualTrack system for MSTS has limited use in activities. (This was a big blow: Much dual track was at the eastern terminus of Golden, CO.) Zero era-correct equipment available for use. Long route length needed to be built before a segment could be released for others to enjoy.
RGS TELLURIDE BRANCH:
Pros: Fair operating potential (local switching, mine switching, and runs down/up 4% Keystone Hill to/from Vance Jct.) Gorgeous NED Seamless terrain, especially up in the Pandora area. Freeware equipment available for use.
Cons: The operational potential could quickly be exhausted. Very limited in scope. That segment of the RGS has already been done, and is currently being upgraded for later release. (This year.)
Pros: Very good operating potential. Very rugged terrain sections. "Do-able" first segment possible. Second segment release would offer totally different operation as opposed to first segment. Excellent equipment is already available.
Cons: The old route effort would have to be extensively reworked. First segment will be very structure/object heavy.
Once we three began to discuss the pros/cons, it was determined that the real sleeper among all the above turned out to be the Colorado Midland. Herb immediately saw a very good operational potential, in conjunction with very rugged sections of terrain with excellent scenic effects possible. Once Steve got to the CM, he too, saw the operational challenges the route afforded.
I saw in the CM the ability to scratch my Colorado itch, as well as recreate a railroad that has been an interest of mine since 1990. Plus, the very important element: Equipment is ALREADY available!
Another factor tilting the scales in favor of the CM was that since my CM attempt of several years ago, my CM database has grown significantly. In doing so, I have learned that the CM had some very interesting and intense operation between Colorado Springs and Florissant. In fact, in Colorado City and Colorado Springs, the CM was contracted by the D&RG, ATSF, and UPD&G to perform their switching in the industries, as well as some of their yards! This essentially means that ALL track I lay in the Colorado City and Colorado Springs areas will be used by the CM! Talk about operational potential. In addition, there were CM transfer runs to/from all of the above and also up to Roswell, Colorado to interchange with the Chicago, Kansas & Nebraska... later known as the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific. (Rock Island.)
Okay... this does it for Part 2. Part 3 will follow soon...
Posted 06 February 2010 - 04:23 PM
So, the above let's you know HOW I arrived at the CM. Now, let's take a look at what has been done in one month's time...
First off, the track in the original CM route is not going to be usable. So, I basically cleared the tiles where I would begin reconstructing the route, and started anew.
My first goal is to get the track complete in Segment One: Colorado Springs and Colorado City, including all connections and industries that can reasonably be modeled. I am about 90% there. I WAS 100%, or so I thought. However, I just learned last week of the CK&N operation, and that the CM went to Roswell, CO to effect interchange with them. So, I will be adding track to the north end of the D&RG (CM had trackage rights!) to a point a couple miles north of Colorado Springs. There will be built the CK&N yard.
Below you will find an up-to-the-minute AE schematic of the Colorado Springs area. The new double track to the CK&N at Roswell will be added at "D".
All for this post... another one on the way!
Posted 06 February 2010 - 04:31 PM
Bear in mind that the CM accomplished all the local freight work for the D&RG in Colorado City, so, that means any D&RG track will be used by the CM for more operational potential!
In actuality, the rails of the CM have been relaid to Manitou, about 3 more miles west, however, that is another story left for another time.
In the next installment of "As The MSTS'er Turns"... we'll start looking at what's being done (and has already been done) in the equipment realm!
Posted 06 February 2010 - 04:36 PM
Research indicates that the CM Pack includes several KEY locomotive models that COULD be expanded to a roster of something like 20 different engines.
Well... ol' Herb is one to NEVER be satisfied, so he set in and started cloning items from the CM Pack to exploit this potential.
I will now start a series of posts containing pics of same!
First up is the Class 91 series. ALL CM loco's in that class are represented!
Posted 06 February 2010 - 04:37 PM
Posted 06 February 2010 - 04:41 PM
Yup, Herb is extending the cloning program to the rolling equipment.
Here's the current Cabeese fleet and the passenger cars...
Posted 06 February 2010 - 04:43 PM
Below you'll find some examples of this!
Posted 06 February 2010 - 04:48 PM
Okay... that about does it for now. I'll let you digest the informational overload above! Later, I'll come back in and start talking about operations, and perhaps even a bit about Segment 2 of the route, and what it can offer.
Comments welcomed and encouraged!!
OOOOOPS! Almost forgot... below you'll find a screen capture of the Colorado City Yard and Shops as they appear this minute. Note there are already scale-sized building blanks in place. Time is fast approaching to begin structures for Segment 1!!
Posted 06 February 2010 - 08:33 PM
Posted 06 February 2010 - 08:54 PM
Of course, my immediate goal is to complete the Colorado Springs/Colorado City segment. On that segment, the farthest a CM transfer train will travel will be about 7 miles. However, there will be a LOT of operation possible within the two cities covered. This will be the toughest segment to build, given its track complexity, object density, and city-type scenes.
Once that segment is finished... I will begin in earnest the extension up Ute Pass (4% ruling grade) and over Hayden Divide, and down the other side of Hayden Divide to the railroad town of Florissant. There were helpers both ways over Hayden Divide. The Ute Pass side had a 4% ruling grade, and the Florissant side had 3% almost all the way from Florissant to Divide.
That will make the CM track (NOT including all the D&RG, ATSF, UPD&G, and the CK&N yard tracks) at 35.8 miles. Colorado Springs to Florissant will complete my first vision for this project.
Mileposts for this section were as follows:
0.0 the ATSF connection switch at Colorado Springs
3.0 Colorado City
6.9 Iron Springs
14.9 Green Mtn. Falls
20.0 Woodland Park
26.9 Divide (top of Hayden Divide/Ute Pass)
As stated, the CM has been a favorite road I have been fascinated with for a long time. At long last, my data resources have reached the point (and with the help of XTracks) that it is possible to recreate a close replica of it. No, it won't be "track-for-track/gradient" perfect... but the hardest trackwork areas are turnin' out pretty stinkin' close.
FWIW: All evening I have been working on the newly discovered Chicago Kansas & Nebraska yard... HOPE to get it finished this weekend or early in the week. Once that is done, it will be time to start adding/creating structures!!! Yup... I"m talking I'm SERIOIUS about this favorite Colorado railroad of mine.
All for now... time to go raid the refridgerator for some goodies!!
Posted 07 February 2010 - 09:59 AM
Posted 07 February 2010 - 10:02 AM
Posted 07 February 2010 - 01:24 PM
Posted 07 February 2010 - 02:25 PM
Thank you for the book-hints. I already found a copy for a reasonable
price at Abebooks :-)
Regarding your pics: I just can answer with a wow!!!! Looking very forward for the CM!!!
Your StL&NA infected me once with the turn of the centaury-virus.
Now I myself am building railroads in this time 8-)
Ok a lilbit later - in the 20ies ;-)
Your pics are very promising!!! I think I should introduce a 30 hour
day to find more time running your georgeous routes!!!
Now off for bed,
Posted 07 February 2010 - 06:05 PM
"What type of freight traffic ran on this line, particularly over Ute Pass? I'm guessing maybe lumber or ore?"
You name it, it moved west over Ute Pass: Mining timber, ties, construction lumber, general merchandise, prerishibles, coal, steel, etc, etc. Almost the same freight ladings coming back east up to Divide, too, with the exception of perhaps steel. BUT, you can add lots of ore to be milled at Colorado City to more than make up for that.
I carefully chose 1893 for several reasons:
* The Midland was complete BUT... the Busk-Ivanhoe Tunnel was NOT. (Opened Dec 17th, I think I recall.) Therefore, if I should ever get as far as that region, I can model that awesome Hagerman Pass line.
* The construction of the Midland Terminal Rwy was in full swing via their connection at Divide. This will mean I can capitilize on all sorts of construction traffic up Ute Pass to/from the town of Divide.
The 1892 Time Table I have lists about EIGHTEEN scheduled trains in/out of Colorado City. Adding in the needed extras, helpers, etc, there will be GREAT traffic opportunities to develop activities around.
Of course, first things first. Gotta' get what's on my plate finished up before I can even think about expansion.
Hiball Jim said:
"Excellent!!! This is one I would love to have. Good luck on the creation."
Thanks for the well wishing Jim! I too, am pretty excited about bringing my beloved old CM back to life. The fact that we have such a great start on equipment is a huge plus for this project.
"Looks like its going to be a great one! Your enthusiasm is contagious."
Dwayne, I think it would be safe to say that the Colorado Midland is perhaps one of the most famous and popular TOC19 prototypes that ever existed. We're talking a railroad that was gone by 1921-22... yet it STILL has an impressive following of enthusiasts and historians studying and modeling it. It was the grand daddy of 'em all in Colorado. (i.e. The first standard gauge line to penetrate the Rockies.) The 4% up Ute Pass is incredible. (8 tunnels in 2 miles!) All of it: Just a fantastic railroad. Now that I've learned there was SOOO much in Colorado City/Colorado Springs, etc, there will be lots of operation, too. A bonus! Yup... I can't help but be excited about it. Just wish I could snap my fingers and have a completed route to enjoy!!! (Instead of a snap of the fingers... more like a really looooong series of mouse clicks!)
"Thank you for the book-hints. I already found a copy for a reasonable price at Abebooks :-) "
You're welcome! I really think you will not regret purchasing a CM book. You'll REALLY get hooked on it, then!
"Regarding your pics: I just can answer with a wow!!!! Looking very forward for the CM!!!"
Me too!!! Just wish it weren't so much wooooorrrrrrkkkkkkk to develop a route!
"Your StL&NA infected me once with the turn of the centaury-virus. Now I myself am building railroads in this time 8-) "
Wait until you have the CM in your hands... it will be the St.LNA on STEROIDS. Much more traffic to model and much more impressive terrain... the CM will be a dandy.
"Your pics are very promising!!! I think I should introduce a 30 hour day to find more time running your georgeous routes!!! "
"Now off for bed."
Nighty night! (It ought to be about 3 AM in Germany right about now!)
Thanks for your comments and questions. I really enjoy answering them and talking trains with you!
Posted 08 February 2010 - 05:48 PM
I'm happy to announce that it's FINISHED! Just tonight I tied-in the last of the tracks.
This means that the rails in the Colorado City and Colorado Springs areas are essentially DONE. Structure time has arrived! I intend to place some temporary roads that will be used to help locate orient them correctly... then its time to dust off my trusty ol' TSM and paint programs... and get to the building of structures!
Oh... here's a pic of the CK&N yard!
EDIT: And speaking of placing some roads... below is an RE pic of the what I've accomplished at Colorado Springs since typing the above! Can you detect the street running?